This hands-on course allowed us to use prototyping to practice the mindsets and methods of human-centered design to produce tangible results quickly. We explored methods to prototype products, services, interactions and environments. We developed an understanding of the importance of providing our ideas a place to develop, change and iterate while gaining valuable feedback from getting our ideas in the hands of the people we were designing for on the road to concept refinement.
Better Living brainstorming
Goal: Brainstorming ideas for better living In a community, at work, in school and at home.
Basis of ideas were developed and sketched on Post-It notes in short time. Concepts such as recycling bins that rewarded using them with a small payment, 24 hour libraries, quiet rooms, in office gym, mandatory financial classes, bully box – report bullying anonymously, ceiling air filters, etc. were all quickly sketched on small Post-It notes.
Goal: Chosen from our wall of ideas, we set out into teams to create a prototype of a container that would give the user a visual indication of the freshness of the food within it.
My team and I decided a device that could be place within a container would be more convenient Multiple sensors would be used to measure categories of food. It would present information with color coded level meters from “fresh” to “spoiled”. Information about the minimal amount of time needed for an accurate reading. We explored sizes and shapes of this device through sketching. Methods of attaching the device to a number of different containers were explored and a removable S hook was agreed upon.
Feedback: Each team reviewed the other’s prototype and feedback was shared. We found through feedback that the size of the product was important to fit into a range of food containers as well as the way it attaches to the edge of the container. Our solution was the rectangular shape as well as a hole in the product with a number of attachments that will allow it to be hung on the edge of a number of different containers.
Goal: To provide an experience where the customer would be open to trying a new food and gain interest in further exploration of other products.
The setting was an office cafeteria with a variety of food stations where our employee would be presenting free samples to incoming customers. We explored where and when the customer was approached. How we would present our samples in a way to introduce an alternative to what the customer may expect to have for lunch.
My solution was to provide information to make the items more familiar. A company email would be sent out with weekly menu items along with an ingredients list. At the cafeteria a sample platter of one of the menu items would be presented by an employee of the food stall. The name of the sample and it’s list of ingredients would stand along side the small samples. A sign above with a menu of additional choices would mirror what was on the earlier email.
The goal was to create consistency for the customer to gain familiarity with these items that may be different then the normal lunch items offering the opportunity to try something new and may be a healthier choice. A user was brought in to provide feedback.
Feedback: Improvements could be made to the clarity in the menu of rotating items being careful not to be mistaken for a pop up business that would change completely from week to week.
Home Air Filter
Goal: Another product picked from our wall of concepts was a wall mounted home air filter. We looked to gain feedback from putting the product in the user’s hands.
With a paper prototype built we seek user feedback taking the environment into consideration. Our location was the home of one of the users and initial reaction to this new product they have just acquired.
The filter was built with a hanging plate that provided instructions, a built in leveler and anchors that would be used to fasten the plate to the wall allowing the unit to be slid in and out for maintenance as well as options for a free standing operation if preferred.
Feedback: One of the misses was the retractable power cord. Users were unaware that the power cord could be extended and retracted into the unit as well as more comprehensive instructions including tools needed, clear option for free standing operation and suggestions for installation locations. Along with small design adjustments such as lips on the mounting plate to avoid contact with the wall when sliding the unit in and out of the installed plate and color options to better blend into wall colors. The user liked the form factor and ability to install out of the way and unseen. Maybe an online video guide could be explored.